Cherokee County Fire Educator Beth Elder, left, stands with Tammy Dorsten, who recently put the education she received through a class Elder is involved in to good use, helping a man in a Kroger store.

In an effort to help county residents be prepared to help in an emergency situation, Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services is reminding residents of a class the agency teaches on a regular basis.

Every month, the fire department offers an American Heart Association Heartsaver, First Aid, CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator) class to county residents. There is a $25 fee to attend the class, and registration can be found online at www.cherokeecountyfire.org and searching under the “Events and Classes” listings on the left side of the page.

One example of how this class has proved beneficial was listed in a recent news release from the fire department. Several weeks ago, Cherokee County resident Tammy Dorsten was at a local Kroger store when the information she learned through the class was able to be put to good use.

“I was in a Kroger at approximately 7:30 that night, and I had just made my purchases. As I turned to leave, I heard something fall. I turned and it was a gentleman that had collapsed and hit his head in the self-checkout line,” Dorsten said.

Realizing that nobody was taking care of the situation at the time, Dorsten sprang into action and put her training to good use. She directed one individual to call 911, while having another go outside to meet the ambulance, as well as asking for someone to bring her a first aid kit and asking if the store had an AED device. The man, 55 years of age, was unconscious for approximately 6 minutes and had blood on his head as a result of hitting his head. Paramedics from the fire department arrived on scene minutes later and transported the man to an area hospital to be evaluated.

“You just can’t describe the feeling of being able to help somebody else in a minute when they are completely helpless and nobody else was willing to help,” Dorsten said. “Plus, knowing you stepped up and did the right thing. I made a difference and there’s no better feeling than that.”

Not only did Dorsten say the class taught by Cherokee County Fire Educators gave her the confidence she had in knowing what to do during that incident, but it has also proven beneficial in other ways. As the director of the Holdheide Academy located north of Woodstock, she and her employees are required to take CPR certified classes. This class teaches the critical skills and knowledge needed to respond to and manage a first aid or sudden cardiac arrest emergency in the first few minutes until emergency medical services arrive. The class also shows how to treat bleeding, sprains, broken bones, shock, choking and other first aid emergencies, as well as perform CPR and use an AED.

“I think Tammy is a great director of her daycare,” Cherokee County Fire Educator Beth Elder said. “She knows her employees well, and she helps them and drills them in the CPR skills before they take their test. I also think the good Lord knew that Tammy was going to need all those skills to use later on.”

Dorsten added, “I would encourage everyone to take the class, because you just never know when something like this might happen.”

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